Bulk Liquid Food Transportation


According to Cambridge dictionary, bulk means “something that is very large”.Liquid bulk means a very large quantity of liquid transported together. In the transport industry, liquid bulk means the liquid quantity that fills a “Tank Vehicle”. And the FMCSA defines “tank vehicle” as a vehicle transporting an Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC) or other tank used for any liquid or gaseous materials with an individual rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that is either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or chassis; or a vehicle used to transport multiple IBCs or other tanks having an individual rated capacity of more than 119 gallons and an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that are permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or the chassis.

Liquid bulks are not boxed, bagged or hand stowed, instead, they are poured into and sucked out of large tank vehicles to be transported. Believe it or not, these tankers transport the liquid food that we eat and drink, such as: milk, vegetable oils, juices, water and many other liquids that are needed in the food and pharmaceutical industry.

To maintain the liquids in optimal condition, this means that they reach their destination in the same conditions that they were loaded to the tank vehicle, it is important that there is  a good communication between shipper and receiver with the transportation company. Some of these products are liquid bulks that need to be transported refrigerated, and for that, there exist some special tank vehicles that can keep the liquids inside them at an optimal temperature

The FAO and WHO have created a CODE OF HYGIENIC PRACTICE FOR THE TRANSPORT OF FOOD IN BULK AND SEMI-PACKED FOOD, where they list some points that must be checked by shipper, transporter and receiver in order to deliver a product in good quality.

There are some issues that the owner of the container or tank vehicle must fulfill: the quality of the construction material and coating, sealing/locking device, avoid residues of previous cargoes, residues from cleaning and sanitizing materials. When appropriated, the container or tank vehicle, should be used for a single commodity use.

In order to be a qualified bulk liquid transporter must avoid Increase/decrease of temperature of the food. It is undesirable the introduction of microbes, dust, moisture, or other physical contamination. Also a leaking of the heating/cooling fluid could contaminate the liquid. It is also important to have temperature control in optimal conditions.

The appropriate design of the food transportation unit should prevent access of insects, contamination from the environment, and when necessary, provide insulation against gain or loss of heat, adequate heating and/or cooling capacity, and the availability for locking or sealing.

Construction and design of the food bulk liquid transport should make easy the inspection, cleaning, disinfection and to enable temperature control when necessary. Inner surface materials should be suitable for direct food contact. Suitable materials to be in contact with food are: stainless steel or a coat of food-grade epoxy. An interior design that eliminates areas that are difficult to access and clean is highly recommended.